True Fallacy

In debates on any subject where the behavior of individuals stands in for the behavior of the groups – the person arguing for the goodness of the group, will generally resort to the “No True Scotsman” fallacy when faced with behaviours that they do not wish to be associated or representative of the group.

So, no true Christian would shoot an abortion doctor, for example – even though, true Christians could see where such an act might be viewed as having some positive outcomes – at the very least, that doctor won’t be performing abortions.

In this way, Christians try to have it both ways – denying that the shooter is part of their group, while providing a sheen of goodness, respectability, understanding even of the shooter and their actions with the desired outcome of reducing the number of abortion doctors and intimidating those who continue to provide services in the fact of such “deplorable”, well, at least unfortunate, violence.

I have always understood this fallacy from the point of view of the person it’s presented to as an arguement – and it’s easy to strike it down.

There’s over 35,000 sects of Christianity, and it’s long past the time to pretend that they are uniform – they are unique, distinct and all Christian. It’s truer to say that Christianity includes a wide range of people, beliefs and behavioral norms – and that allows for a wide range of behaviours to operate under cover of the diversity of the larger Christian community.

I never appreciated that fallacy from the other side – that is, to feel associated with a group and one member undertakes a horrific and largely incomprehensible action.

In 1989. I turned on the radio and learned of a shooting at a university – a man had killed 14 women who were engineering students. I remember thinking “where in the US did that happen” and when the story repeated and it was in Montreal, Canada – I had to pull my car over and stop driving. I was in total shock that this type of event could happen in Canada.

Then Columbine happened and it seemed that workplace and school shootings were some kind of fashionable event – and not limited to North America.

But, the recent shootings in Norway, continue to hold my attention. That a Scandinavian person could have so betrayed the trust as to dress like a police officer and target children and teens….

I find myself – half Icelandic – groping for comprehension.

If I could only eat what I procured, I’d be a vegetarian overnight – so this premeditated, cold blooded, intellectual exercise of murder, killing, children for ideas – is just so beyond my comprehension that I cannot beleive that a Scandinavian person would do such a thing.

As much as a policy wonk as I am, policy and ideas, do not come before people’s lives. The greater good is not ever served with the blood of innocents.

I do not want to admit that Scandinavians, bastions of socialist and not particularly religious societies, could still bring forth individuals who would seek to impose their particular worldview upon the world through violence – rather than through example and influence – such as creative arts, non-fiction writing, being part of the political system…

But then, perhaps violence is the last means available to people who’s worldview simply has no merit, nothing to recommend it for consideration.

Which, xenophobic isolationism, really has no place in a global world, where no one group is any better or different than any other.

Perhaps that’s the realization that the “no true scotsman” fallacy should trigger – the moment we intellectually reach for it, we need to see if for the shallow self-indulgence that it is – that any group is better or different than any other is false on the face of it.

One Nation, Many Gods

“This country was founded by and for people who believed in God and the Constitution declared we are “one nation under God”. People wake up!!! Only nations that were dictatorships and communist denied people the right to honor God. If we continue on this path we will lose all our freedoms.”
Any Godbot

*Offer only good for people who beleive in said god*

How come people who think that they are “real Americans” (aka No True Scotsman Fallacy) and trumpets the constitution, never seem to have read any further than the pre-amble? Don’t know that  “under god” was not original to the pledge, it was added when McCarthism was in charge – talk about your zealot dictatorships.

If these are “real Americans” why do they know so little about their country’s history, that the Founding Fathers were deists, not theists who were largely scornful of Christianity and that the idea that America was founded on was the freedom of the individual.

That said, several Founding Fathers expected the US to rejoin with Britain and all of them expected a further generation – and not too far off – to hold another revolution and change the social system again.

Aside – Also, the story of the Cherry Tree is a lie told to explain why truth is so important.

Probably something profound in that about the American psyche.

There is nothing preventing any person from believing what they want nor preventing them from teaching those beliefs to their children. Have you noticed that the very religious parents demand that schools not act as parents when it comes to teaching sex and tolerance towards others? But these same parents tend to want their religious beliefs imposed on all the school children, as if they are better parents than the other parents?

Seriously, did these people miss the class on sharing, working well and playing with others? The major laws of the land do not end at the preamble.

Government cannot establish or endorse any religion or over other or over non-belief.

If a person wants to live in a country where the government forces one religion on the people, because there’s no separation of Church and State – then America is not the country for you.  Go live in a Theocratic nation, but you’ll have to convert to another religion.

Not allowing government to control people. That’s as American as it gets.


Groupthink: empowering the individual to bully